Many people are tired of the rat race and feel enslaved to the system, working hard to pay bills and barely keeping their head above water. Deep inside they feel called to a more natural way of life, learning to grow their own food, enjoy the freedom of alternative energy rather than paying the utility company, and get back to a simpler, more basic way of life. They want more time with their family and friends, and recognize that their lives are out of harmony with nature.
In the summer of 2000 we moved to a small off grid cabin in the wilderness. It was there that we began to learn about gardening and a more sustainable way of life. Since then, we’ve been learning, little by little – often by trial and error. There have been some tough experiences, but we’re glad now that we never turned back.
One thing we have learned, not only from our own experience, but also in helping others, is that almost anyone can enjoy this way of life. It just involves learning the steps to take, and the mistakes to avoid and then the persistence to carry out those steps to achieve the goal. In future articles, we’ll consider the steps you need to take, but first, let’s take a look at the mistakes that trip most people up before they can even start on the steps.
The biggest mistake people often make is in trying to master self sufficient living all at once. This tends to lead to discouragement or becoming overwhelmed and ultimately giving up. The secret of most who have successfully made the transition from a dependent way of life, to sustainability is by taking small steps. For example, the easiest and best place to start sustainable living is gardening. But many find the task of preparing and planting a garden daunting, or they don’t have the space to grow everything they know they would need to truly be self sufficient. It’s much better to start small. No matter what your current living situation is, anyone can start growing vegetables – even if it means growing them in pots on a high rise balcony, or planters in the window. Maybe you have some space in the back yard – the key is just plant a small amount that you can easily manage along with the rest of your busy schedule. That might not be very much, but the satisfaction of growing your own food – even if it’s just a small amount at first, will help to energize you in taking other steps to become less dependent on the system.
Ultimately, self sufficient living becomes a reality to those who plan and persist in moving toward the goal, one step at a time. But the very first step is to educate yourself. You need solid information to help you formulate your plan and carry it out successfully. Whether it’s alternative energy, growing and storing food, or other facets of sustainable living, knowledge is where it starts. Armed with the right information, you can enjoy the benefits of self sufficient living.